Two days ago, I asked everyone to speculate on how long the novel coronavirus pandemic might last. I received more responses to this poll than to any other I've set up. Here are the results.
Although, a pandemic that lasts only six months might sound appealing to you, it is the worst conceivable scenario. I thought about it. Even the prospect of a six-month pandemic gives me frightful sweats. I expect and hope the pandemic lasts at least a year. Let me explain why.
To answer the question of when the pandemic ends, we have to also consider the related question: how does the pandemic end?

And given how deadly SARS-CoV-2 is and how fast it spreads, there are three scenarios, of which only two are plausible.
The novel coronavirus will only end when a sizable mass of the earth's planet becomes immune through 1) infection or 2) by a vaccine protecting themselves and others (through herd immunity). 3) Or the virus somehow implausibly mutates and loses steam mid-pandemic.
Everything that everyone is doing- lockdowns, social distancing, masks- is with the purpose of drawing out the pandemic for as long as possible so a vaccine can be developed, drugs can be tested, hospitals can scale up, doctors can get PPE. A short pandemic is an abject failure.
A vaccine will take at least a year. Viruses don't star in M Night Shyamalan films. The only way the pandemic ends in 6 months is an unmitigated blood bath in which the virus runs riot. The living suffer and become immune, the world loses the equivalent of the people in Germany.
Flattening the curve means buying time. It means drawing out the pandemic. We focus on the amplitude of the peak and right so. But please don’t forget the wavelength. The x-axis of a successful non-pharmaceutical intervention is time.
So, what happens in 1+ years in the best-case scenario? We have a working vaccine that can then be scaled up quickly in manufacturing and distributed. SARS-CoV-2 is now only endemic (since it likely won't be completely eradicated anytime soon). But we are in a post-pandemic phase
Before ending the thread, I want to assure you that a one-year pandemic doesn't mean a one-year lockdown. We are in the first wave right now. Measures will be eased everywhere after it subsides (and hopefully not before). There is a tunnel and there is light at the end.
But with a pandemic that lasts at least a year we should also be prepared for layered strategies. Possibly multiple lockdowns and closings. It might be a different world for the foreseeable future. (END)
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